Mediaworks Announced as NHC Supporter Member

Mediaworks has recently partnered with the Northern Housing Consortium (NHC).

As NHC’s Supporter member

The partnership between NHC and Mediaworks will see Mediaworks provide digital advice and marketing expertise within the housing market. Mediaworks will provide sponsorship at trade shows, as well as offering member-relevant advice and insights. The partnership will ensure that members of the NHC have access to leading expertise in the digital marketing world.

Understanding the market

The announcement comes off the back of Mediaworks’ recent success with Home Group, one of the biggest housing associations in the UK. Mediaworks provides extensive digital support for Home Group, which generates valuable experience for our teams regarding the housing and construction market.

Mediaworks’ Managing Director, Brett Jacobson, commented on the promising partnership: “We’re proud to announce that we are now working alongside the NHC as their Supporter member. This partnership will provide members of the NHC with a practical approach to marketing for the housing market, meaning we can help them to improve their user experience, customer service, and digital-led initiatives.”

Kate Maughan, Director of Member Engagement at the NHC, also highlighted the benefits to its members following the partnership, saying: “We’re excited to announce Mediaworks as a new NHC Supporter. Supporter members bring external expertise and allow us to broaden the support we can offer to our membership of housing organisations across the North. In an increasingly IT-driven environment, we’re really looking forward to working with Brett and the team at Mediaworks to share digital solutions and help our members to make the most of their digital presence.”

Guest blog: New Housing Related Support system launched

Locata is ready to roll out its new Housing Related Support (HRS) system across the country.

The new launch was created in partnership with housing practitioners from Cheshire East who wanted a way to link applicants directly to support services.

The system went live in Cheshire East four weeks ago and acts as a referral portal for 10 services from four different providers.

It has already processed almost 500 applications for supported services (189 accommodation units and 155 floating support units) and placed more than 360 service users in support.

“HRS does exactly what we needed it to do by giving referring agencies one portal for applications for accommodation or floating support,” said Nic Abbott, Cheshire Homechoice Team Leader.  “It means we can clearly monitor our service providers contracts and report on their performance.

“Locata worked closely with our team to ensure that the system met our requirements and in true Locata style it has provided a simple solution to a complicated problem.

“We are quickly informed of voids and can in turn quickly fill them again taking account of our own priorities.  We are already saving time and money and seeing a more fluid turnaround of supported units in Cheshire East.”

The cloud-based software is available through G-Cloud and uses the successful HPA2 framework as its foundation, ensuring officers and clients enjoy a familiar and intuitive online experience.

The system seamlessly passes clients to the right support provider which can then give them the service they require. Each local authority can have as many providers as they wish on the platform and registrations can be accepted from multiple sources.

The HRS system is configurable so that potential partners can use the in-built flexibility to create a version of HRS that suits their needs.

The next system to go live will be in Monmouthshire.  They took a slightly different approach and wanted a time recording element incorporated so they can track the time a customer spends in support and the time that a support worker spends supporting customers.

Thanks to the inherent flexibility in HRS, this function is being built and will be delivered soon. One system, two very different partner outcomes.

To find out more, please contact Locata at info@locata.org.uk

Member Engagement Dinner with Martin Hilditch – Editor of Inside Housing

Thursday 19th September 2019 – York

 Members were joined by Editor of Inside Housing magazine Martin Hilditch in York on Thursday 19th September as part of a series of member engagement sessions organised by the Northern Housing Consortium. We run a range of senior member engagement sessions, and all full member organisations are invited to at least one of these every year.

 Key Messages: 

  • Inside Housing wants to hear from Northern members to be able to ensure that coverage is balanced and Northern issues are addressed.
  • Concerns regarding the post-Brexit environment remain important for members and Inside Housing aims to track the policy direction of potential future governments as well as how members are preparing for, and responding to, any developments.
  • Members and Martin agreed that the issue of affordability should be placed firmly back on the agenda within the sector.
  • Concerns regarding the capacity of local authorities were raised as a priority for both members and Inside Housing, as well as the Northern Housing Consortium.
  • The regeneration of “left behind places” was discussed with members focussing on communities in areas with a high number of privately rented homes.
  • Issues surrounding fire safety and regulation, and the implications for members, remain on the agenda.

 

Contact address for further information regarding this event:

anna.seddon@northern-consortium.org.uk

 

 Further Information

 Northern Housing Consortium’s Chief Executive Tracy Harrison began the conversation by outlining the importance of being able to constructively craft the message that the sector, and Northern members in particular, want to communicate.

It was stressed that this ability to be able to effectively tell the story of members’ experience is particularly pertinent during this period of unprecedented uncertainty. Martin Hilditch echoed this approach, outlining Inside Housing’s “open door” policy which enables members in the North to influence the focus of coverage in the magazine, he has previously written about this here.

He emphasised that the nature of Inside Housing’s research and analysis will be developed around the issues that members’ themselves have identified and their ideas on the best ways in which to frame them. Discussion moved to the main priorities of Inside Housing for the next 6 months and members’ responses to these, a summary of the discussion is set out below.

 

Affordability

Conversation between members and Martin centred heavily around affordability, Inside Housing are keen to get the issue of affordability back on the agenda with the aim of being able to lead the conversation on this.

Martin’s main focus regarding this topic would be to ask the following question: “What is affordable housing and what is it there for?”. He was clear that this would include grappling with what affordability means to different regions within the UK. Members used this time to raise issues about social housing and discuss with Martin how these themes were best framed in the housing media. This was discussed through an exploration into Inside Housing’s coverage of the 100 year anniversary of the Addison Act earlier this year and how this was able to engage central government about social housing.

Martin outlined that this campaign was extremely effective in sending out a positive message about social housing that heavily involved the voices of communities by celebrating local achievements. The response received by the magazine shows that these positive messages gained a wider reach with a strong level of engagement. Affordability is also high up Northern Housing Consortium’s agenda with research due to be published in the coming weeks.

 

The Political Landscape and EU Exit

Unavoidably, Brexit remains high on the agenda for the housing sector with Martin open to ideas from our members about current issues of most concern and those for the future. This links back to Tracy’s introduction about the uncertainty of the spaces that the sector, and other sectors, are operating within and how these are best covered by Inside Housing. Tracy outlined the concerns about the current geographical differences in development across the UK and how Brexit will affect this. Members discussed these themes with a focus on local economies, many of which are low-wage, unstable and heavily reliant on a few major employers in the area. Lenders are now taking a proactive approach to understanding the extent to which the local economy will be exposed to the effects of Brexit. Discussions included the example of Nissan in Sunderland with members stressing how many people’s livelihoods are put at risk should relations between Nissan and the local area drastically change, as well as potential lenders’ attitudes towards this.

It was acknowledged these concerns about the post-Brexit environment rely on the direction that government will take on housing as well as other areas such as welfare policy. This will be determined by the outcome of a prospective General Election and the policies that the prevailing government will embark upon. Martin noted the current administration’s focus seems to have been solely on home ownership so far, which Martin has previously written would be terrible news for those most in need of secure, affordable housing”.

More recently, Esther McVey’s first speech as Housing Minister at the RESI Convention this month further hints that government policy will focus heavily on home ownership. Members expressed their concerns about the effect of the policies of this government or the next regarding issues such as Universal Credit and precarious employment contracts on tenants. This will affect areas of the UK in different ways. More clarity regarding potential housing policy in the future will come in the coming months when parties have had their Conference and during the run-up to a possible General Election.

 

Council Delivery and Partnerships

Martin discussed at length the priorities of Inside Housing regarding local authorities with the aim of research and analysis being able to identify the skills that already exist and locating the gaps where further skills are needed. Members agreed that there needs to be a focussed campaign on this as partners are not always able to fill the gaps left by the cuts to council’s powers and funding. This issue is particularly connected to members’ in the North as there is a high number of Band A homes that do not generate as much income for local authorities as other regions to be able to fund the services needed in local areas, especially for more vulnerable tenants and the impact on health and social care. A key concern is local development and the lack of local authorities’ capability; the Northern Housing Consortium are currently working with researchers to be able to quantify councils’ capacity and explore how this has disproportionately affected the North. Martin agreed that there needs to be coherent research of this nature, adding that the subject of “left behind places” requires robust but sensitive attention from both within and outside the sector.

 

Fire Safety

Inside Housing’s “End Our Cladding Scandal” campaign was successful in reaching audiences outside of the housing sector, which Martin notes is sometimes difficult to achieve. It focussed on empowering local voices and putting pressure on local politicians which in turn received coverage in the local and national press. A broader campaign regarding fire safety has followed.

Pete Apps (Deputy Editor of Inside Housing) spoke at length about the pressures that regulatory changes may put on members such as the costs of retrofitting sprinklers which, due to funding, could affect the development of other areas of concern. Members said they were uneasy about the current lack of consistent messaging when it came to fire safety, particularly regarding a “stay put” or evacuate policy that has been central to the post-Grenfell discussion.

Inside Housing agreed that there is a lack of objective advice on these issues and commented this is frequently discussed at their Fire Safety Network. Pete discussed the current government’s focus on the new build sector and how the fire safety issue may not be at the top of their agenda but predicts that it will not disappear. Martin and members added that these conversations would also have to include questions about sustainability and long-term investment in safe, decent and energy efficient homes in the North.

The Northern Housing Consortium thanks Martin for speaking at such a fantastic event for our members where we are able to help set the agenda for the sector and ensure the voice of the North is heard. Inside Housing continues to support the work taking place in the region, please look out for future events with Martin and other senior sector figures.

 

Policy Proposals from Party Conference Season So Far

Conference season is well under way and with a possible General Election looming the three main political parties have been setting out the direction of their housing policy. Below is a summary of what has so far been proposed:

 

The Conservative Party

Though the Conservative Party conference is yet to begin, Esther McVey gave her first speech as Housing Minister this month at the RESI Convention that outlined the policy themes to be put to conference next week.

The Minister sets the goal of government as helping people into a home and into home ownership”, calling the shortage of homes over the last 30 years a “scandal”. The focus on home ownership centred heavily around the new build sector, “…as we leave the EU and set about building 300,000 homes a year, we could become global leaders in the world of house building”. There included no specific social housing target, as the other two parties have set out. The Minister proposes that this would involve the Northern region by establishing a “Centre of Construction Excellence” that would create career opportunities as well as diverse and energy efficient homes.

She also referred to brownfield sites in her support of regeneration where she announced that councils will receive a share of nearly £2 million to crackdown on illegal development in the Green Belt with 37 councils receiving up to £50,000 each. The speech also includes a commitment to continue with planning reforms by delivering the Accelerated Planning Green Paper. Additionally, there was a commitment to the expansion of Shared Ownership and Rent to Buy as well as an announcement that the Ministry would work with the RTPI to update the National Enforcement Handbook.

 

The Labour Party

The housing group of motions that were submitted to be debated at the Labour Party conference in Brighton largely referred to Shelter’s “A Vision for Social Housing” report which concludes that 155,000 socially rented homes should be built per year as well as the frequent advocacy of expanding the national Affordable Homes Programme. It is expected that conference will prioritise the Green New Deal on their agenda with motions referring to new standards for homes to reduce carbon emissions as well as a wider target of zero carbon by 2030.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has also this month outlined a plan to develop a new Right to Buy scheme for millions of private tenants and increase taxation for landlords. He plans to “tackle the burgeoning buy-to-let market” where homes are not sufficiently invested in to make it easier for people to buy the home that they live in. The value paid for these homes would not be at the market price but a “reasonable” price set by the government. In a speech to conference over the weekend, McDonnell also said Labour would “get rid” of Universal Credit, which would change their plan to reform it outlined in their last manifesto.

Labour also plan to debate a proposal that would give local authorities increased power to purchase empty homes as well as introducing a cap on rent at a third of local incomes. Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey spoke to Inside Housing on Monday 24th September outlining that the £4 billion capital grant to build low-cost homes in their 2017 manifesto would only be a starting point. Healey says that this would “ramp up rapidly” after the first year. The article also reports that Healey said Labour want housing associations “to be much clearer and closer to the social purpose that many of them were originally founded [on].”

 

The Liberal Democrat Party

It seems that Brexit did not command every vote during the Liberal Democrat conference last week as their “A Fairer Place for All” paper passed as well as a successful vote in favour of abolishing S21. The paper’s focus on affordability acknowledges the geographical economic imbalance of the UK, citing that benefits and opportunities are “felt increasingly unevenly across our communities and our country”. Proposals within the paper include:

  • Increased powers of local authorities – Help to boost social housing by giving them the first right to purchase public land.
  • Replace sold social housing – Replace any social housing sold in the future with an additional pledge to build 100,000 homes for social rent per year.
  • Rent to Own – Set up a new Rent to Own model for social tenants and introduce a new Help to Rent scheme that would provide government-backed loans for deposits.
  • Reforming the Land Compensation Act – Landowners to be paid a reasonable price for their land rather than the inflated price that it might achieve with planning permission that it does not have.
  • Adapting homes – Developing homes with extra care provision to alleviate some of the pressures faced in health and social care.
  • Setting up a new ALMO – A new arms-length governmental body to acquire land of low amenity at current use value.
  • Setting clearer standards for homes – Enforce regulations according to clearer standards which would involve setting up a new regulator that all private landlords with more than 25 homes must sign up to.
  • Homelessness – They have proposed to end rough sleeping within 5 years and provide local authorities the means to deliver the Homelessness Reduction Act.

A community-led housing plan that’s fit for the future

Britain’s housing system is not delivering the homes that the country needs or that people can afford.

The evidence set out in our bold new Greater Manchester Housing Strategy makes it clear that our broken housing market is directly impacting the lives of many of us in this city-region.

The housing crisis takes many forms, and the challenges we face in Greater Manchester need solutions that fit our own local circumstances. Rough sleeping and homelessness are the most visible and damning indication of this crisis. But there are many other challenges, including the barriers faced by young people trying to set up their first home, older people looking for better choices to help them stay living independently and families wanting somewhere stable to put down roots but living on short term tenancies in the private rented sector.

Additionally, we urgently need to reduce the energy demands of our homes and all other buildings to meet our ambitious plans for delivering a net zero carbon city-region no later than 2038, and to have supporting infrastructure in place as Greater Manchester grows.

Our Greater Manchester Housing Strategy identifies safe, decent and affordable housing as our priority – homes to fit the needs and aspirations of current and future citizens.

We want to take a new approach to tackle the housing crisis, to ensure our solutions address the needs of all our residents. We need to embrace new models for delivering the homes and communities we need, while also committing to campaigning for freedoms and funding to help us find a better balance between the interests of developers, landowners and communities.

We launched our Housing Vision in January which set out what Greater Manchester needs from its current and future housing. Our Housing Strategy – the first since the election of Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester – explains how we will achieve this vision, where every resident can have a safe, decent and affordable home.

We want to do housing differently, and by putting together the Strategy we’ve pioneered a model of co-production involving wide consultation with local authorities, housing associations, academics, architects, builders and housing activists.

Part of our strategy is the development of a Greater Manchester definition of affordable housing and the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework includes a new policy commitment to deliver at least 50,000 affordable homes by 2037, with a major drive to ensure at least 30,000 of these are social homes.

We’re already on with this and are investing some of the surplus from our £300m Housing Investment Loan Fund to support the delivery of truly affordable housing and tackle issues in the private rented sector including rogue landlords and empty properties.

Some of these issues may require decades of sustained effort to fully resolve. As Greater Manchester’s Housing, Homelessness and Infrastructure lead, I will do all I can, working with colleagues at the GMCA and our ten local councils. But we will only succeed with the help, support and commitment of local communities, landlords, housing associations, developers, investors, landowners, the construction sector, utilities, central government and many more.

In everything we do through devolution, we seek to fully involve the people of Greater Manchester, working with local people to deliver a dynamic, community-led housing plan fit for the future of our diverse and dynamic city-region.

Guest Blog – Text Help – Are you supporting Neurodiversity in the Workplace?

Neurodiversity is not just about ‘doing the right thing’ anymore.

GCHQ, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Direct Line Group and JPMorgan Chase are actively getting it ‘right’ and supporting neurodiverse employees throughout their employment – benefiting both the employee AND the organisation.

Neurodiverse employees with Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyscalculia, Autistic Spectrum, Tourette Syndrome and more, can increase productivity levels by nearly as much as 50% (Siemens) – resulting in increased profits and customer satisfaction.

With many well known entrepreneurs voicing strong support for neurodiversity (Richard Branson, Lord Alan Sugar, Ingvar Kamprad to name a few), and programmes such as Employable Me creating national awareness, it is no surprise that the term is such a hot topic at the moment.

Neurodiversity in the Workplace. A Free Guide

Are you an HR professional or business leader interested in neurodiversity?  Or are you implementing a diversity and inclusion strategy within your workplace?  This guide is for you.

The power of neurodiversity is in its strengths and the benefits they can bring to an organisation.

Texthelp believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential.  This is why we’ve put this compact guide together.

We will walk you through our recommendations in adopting a neurodivergent approach and making sure everyone can thrive in the workplace.

Get your free guide here.

 

Preparing for Hackitt 2019

Steve Douglas CBE, Group Chief Executive, Altair 

I’m delighted to chair the annual NHC/Altair Asset Management Seminar once again. It is so important that northern housing providers have as much access to the policy debates on building safety, compliance and regulation, as London and the south providers do.

This year’s seminar focusses on trying to give an idea of what Senior Asset Directors and Managers should be focussing on to prepare for a post-Hackitt building environment. This will include consumer regulation and the increased emphasis on fire safety in particular, but also all aspects of building safety. The event will cover the expectations of value for money in the procurement of asset management contracts and the continued drive for new technology, when making both strategic and operational decisions on managing assets.

The seminar is for housing associations, local authorities, ALMOS, the public and private sector. It will cover issues that matter to Directors, Managers and Board members, all of whom have different responsibilities for asset management.

In what will be a packed day of strategic insight and practical advice, we are delighted to welcome the head of the Regulator of Social Housing, chief executive Fiona MacGregor, who will give her thoughts on how the sector should be preparing for or responding to what may come from a new government administration, and any policy directions in relation to consumer regulation and the implications for building safety.

Angela Connelly and Anna Furlong, both senior members of Fiona’s team, will also join the conference to discuss the practical implications for compliance with regulatory requirements. Delroy Beverley from Nottingham City Homes, will talk about how they are responding to building safety, post Grenfell. The wide-ranging implications affect not only those directly responsible for management of property, but board members, development directors and housing managers as well.

There will be expert analysis from senior practitioners in the sector, including, Kevin Williams from Guinness who will consider the arguments for and against stock rationalisation, and how to make a business case for boards and stakeholders.

Together’s George Paterson and Altair’s Michael Appleby will examine where the sector is now on the use of new technology and how some organisations are revisiting their approach to planned and reactive repairs to drive better value for money and higher levels of customer satisfaction.

We will round up with a legal update from Ward Hadaway on The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 and what could be the next big pressure on Asset Directors’ priorities and budgets, and a look at how one housing association, Halton Housing, is responding.

There will be something for everyone. And plenty of food for thought.

I hope you’ll enjoy the day and find it both relevant and useful.

Click here to view the programme and book your place

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Building your brand and developing an Employee Value Proposition

 

Finding and keeping the talent your organisation needs to succeed has always been a challenge. A recent CBI survey said that 56% of organisations cannot fill the jobs that they currently have available, and 80% of CEOs said that “Talent” was their single biggest issue, more important than concerns about the economy or their customers.

Having a comprehensive and coherent Employee Value Proposition (EVP) can be a fundamental plank of your talent strategy, drawing together your employer brand, your compensation and benefits strategy as well as being an increasingly important statement of your culture and values. A well written EVP provides the basis on which you can build your roadmap to attracting and retaining talent in a tightening market.

An EVP isn’t just about attracting people to your organisation though, it also holds you to account with your current workforce. There’s nothing like the hollow claims of an over exaggerated EVP praising the virtues of your workplace, that bears no relation to the reality of working for you, to have the opposite effect on your retention. Expectation must match reality, even if we ‘polish it up a bit’! It’s a way of ensuring your managers understand “the way we do things around here” and can contribute to their development. Managers play a vitally important role in creating the cultural reality, away from the lofty ideals of the HR and marketing teams. Without your managers reflecting your culture and values in their day-to-day interactions with your teams and customers, your EVP becomes a pointless exercise.

Increasingly, organisations are identifying and creating partnerships to improve the effectiveness of their talent strategy through recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), RPO is when a company transfers all or part of its permanent recruitment to an external provider, this could be working with  master and neutral vendors and recruitment businesses, establishing partnerships with Higher Education and Further Education, as well as apprenticeship providers. An EVP will strengthen your partners understanding of your organisation and how they can best work with you. When working in the talent marketplace for you, on the phone, in their advertising, and on social media, it’s imperative that they reflect your values. Your partners also need to comprehensively understand what they’ve got to work with. How far can they go to accommodate a flexible working request, can you meet the career aspirations of the best candidate, will you look at transferrable skills to widen the pool of candidate by seeking experience gained in other markets or industries? All of this can come from your EVP – it’s the public statement of who you really are.

Other considerations, taken from the REC’s (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) report: Ready Willing and Able: Can the UK Labour Force meet Demand after Brexit, provide further food for thought:

  1. Focus on the candidate experience for applicants who are less confident in applying for roles.
  2. Re-assess what level of prior experience is essential or desirable for a given role.
  3. Consider whether different working patterns are suitable for the roles being advertised.
  4. Make clear in job adverts any realistic routes for progression within roles.
  5. Work as an individual company, in collaboration with other companies, and through trade associations and industry organisations to myth-bust about your industry.
  6. Allow those who have re-entered the labour market after a lengthy period of unemployment or economic inactivity more time to bed in and adapt to the demands of their role.
  7. Take guidance from recruiters and not-for-profit organisations on realistic expectations and suitable roles for new employees from excluded groups.

Join us at our roundtable in September to connect with HR colleagues across the sector and learn more [link to website].

Heather Salway is Group HR Director for nGAGE Specialist Recruitment.

NCH Resident Involvement Conference – 19th June 2019

Blog by officers attending from Sheffield City Council

Intro

John

Three of us from Sheffield City Council had a day out at this conference in June. We are Shahid Khan, Engagement & Development Officer, Waleed Al-Gulaidi, Community Engagement Apprentice, and John Loveless, Manager of the Community Engagement Team.

We met Barbara Spicer, Chief Executive of Plus Dane and Joint Chair of the event. Barbara tweeted a photo of us with her and Maria Milford, the other Joint Chair, and asked us to write a blog of our day, so here goes.

Barbara told us the story of her career starting off as the girl who made the tea for a Director who she later sat alongside as a fellow Director, which was a real inspiration to Waleed.

Waleed

Today was a brilliant day at the conference Resident Involvement in York. It was my best experience within the working world and I feel I have gained a lot from attending

 

Morning

Waleed

At the start there were 7 different representatives from different housing associations who told us about their business and how they cooperate. There was a debate afterwards between the panel and the audience about stigma and how this affects housing, I found this really interesting because it gave me a better understanding of what it is and how this affects tenants and residents till this day, even though it started over 50 years ago.

John

First impressions of the hotel were that it was very smart and of course very convenient to access, being almost a physical part of York train station. There was a bit of a problem with the coffee machine but we soon forgot about that as Barbara introduced the day and the interesting and varied panel of speakers for the morning session.

We especially warmed to the words from Melanie Rees about stigma in social housing and how we tackle it. Building more social housing, promoting social housing tenancies as a tenure of choice and training staff in understanding stigma, were some of the positive suggestions. From the floor someone said “Stigma starts with how and where properties are designed, planned and built,” which we totally agreed with.

The last part of the morning was billed as an interactive session with the audience, and Shahid, Waleed and I joined with tenants and a manager from the Community Housing Group to talk about what we could do to reduce stigma in social housing. Each table fed back to the whole room on a range of different topics.

 

Lunch

Waleed

During lunch we met the lovely chief executive Barbara Spicer of Plus Dane Housing who was one of the main organisers of the event, she spoke to us about her career and how she moved up the ladder, I found this really interesting as she taught me you can become what you want if you work hard enough. This really motivated and inspired me especially knowing she was once at my level and knowing everybody has to start somewhere.

 

Afternoon workshops

Waleed

After lunch there was various workshops set up, the first one I attended was ‘Achieving Impact in Resident Engagement at Local Authorities’ and was run by Leeds Council, this was really good because we gained ideas that could help our council, for example having electrical billboards around the city about housing news, updated regularly so tenants and residents are aware of what is happening, walkabouts with the tenants to engage with them and annual home visits etc. We have taken these ideas with us and are hoping we can apply them to our housing service in order to improve the service for our tenants and residents.

 John

I learned a lot from the South Liverpool Homes run workshop about their successful scrutiny panel. I especially liked their recognition of the importance of the culture of the panel, investing in training in the code of conduct and approaching people who have made complaints about services to see if they would be interested in joining the panel.

Waleed

The second workshop was ‘Residents Collaborating on Inclusivity’, Lucy Malarkey’s presentation was absolutely fantastic, she had spoken of the company’s downfall and upcoming which showed clear motivation and taught us no matter how many times you fail, you have try over again. Lucy was talking to us about LGBT and also talked a lot about equality, diversity and inclusion which allowed us to see the wider picture. She showed us the training she did with both customers and staff so that they have a clear understanding of how to deal with one and other, I think that this was an excellent idea and could actually be useful within Sheffield City Council. They showed us organisations they collaborated with, for example BME which gave them a good image in the eyes of the public, this is also something other housing associations should think of.

Also, after this workshop Shaheed was able to find them on Facebook and take their email down to help get in touch and promote each other online which will benefit both organisations. We were really amazed by how successful their company has become and what they have done, it is a really good image for their community. We are hoping to do the same.

  John

In the other workshops I attended, run by Great Places and Yorkshire Housing, I was heartened to hear that other organisations are grappling with the issue of how to reach out to customers / tenants who want to be involved but do not want to come to meetings and that paper copies of documents are still available for those who have not yet migrated to digital communications.

 

Final thoughts

Waleed

Overall it was a fantastic experience and hopefully I am able to attend another, we learnt a lot of information, we gained different peoples’ opinions, I got the chance to meet people from different housing organisations and finally we got the chance to see how housing associations are successful and what they did, hopefully we can take this information on board to help our housing services be the best it can for our tenants.

John

This was a rare day out of the office for all three of us, but rewarding and thought-provoking. We came away with some really useful ideas and challenges to take back to Sheffield and to the groups we work with, and we met some really friendly and interesting folks from other housing providers.

Marking the centenary of the ‘Addison Act’

Today marks the centenary of the Housing Act 1919. The ‘Addison Act’, as it was commonly known, paved the way for large-scale council housing and was driven by Health Minister at the time, Christopher Addison.

We were excited to see what our members are doing to mark the occasion, including activity from Sheffield City Council and South Tyneside Council.

 

 Sheffield City Council

As one of the earliest local authorities to embrace council housing, Sheffield City Council has taken the opportunity to celebrate the centenary of the Addison Act with a range of activities including a dedicated webpage linked to the centenary for all news on their 100 years of council housing campaign.

The council have also been encouraging residents in the city to send in their photographs, archive material and recorded memories about their experiences of council housing over the years, some of these have been posted on their Facebook page.

The local radio and media have covered the activity in both the Sheffield Star (Retro feature) and on Radio Sheffield (BBC – Radio Sheffield – Home).

The Lord Mayor hosted a small event at the Town Hall at the last month for some of their tenants including centenarians and tenants who have been in their council homes for over 65 years.  The council estimate that their dozen attendees will have over 700 years of Sheffield City Council experience between them!

Two ‘memory café’ style events have also taken place in the city, the organisation has also been researching archive material to provide a history of council housing in Sheffield to form the basis of an exhibition linking to tenant experiences and memories. Stay updated with the councils ongoing activities.

South Tyneside Council

South Tyneside Council have a launch event on the 31st July at one of their signature, and fairly new buildings The Word. This will include a morning of speeches and presentations with senior officers including the Chief Exec and Leader of the Council, the Managing Director of the ALMO, South Tyneside Homes as well as registered providers, elected members and other guests.

The morning will discuss the purpose of the law, how social housing has changed over the last 100 years both nationally and locally, tackling the stigma now associated with social housing as well as looking more closely in terms of what has been achieved in South Tyneside around decent homes, non-traditional work and forever homes. It will continue into the afternoon a focus on community engagement and how communities have changed over the years.  Tenants and residents were invited to share their experiences of living in social housing and where they see housing in 50 – 100 years’ time.  There is also be housing themed arts and crafts. This will all form the basis of a longer exhibition which will run from mid-January for approximately 10 weeks.

We know many of our local authority members are building homes for the future, we are keen to celebrate new development through our #OurNorth Campaign. Find out how you can get involved.